By: Julian Harris Gibson
In the book New Rules of Marketing and PR, author David Meerman Scott provides a roadmap for all those who need either an introductory lesson or a refresher course in the ever-changing world of digital marketing and online public relations. The book begins by giving readers an insightful forward from Robert Scoble, a veteran public relations professional with decades of experience working for global companies like Google.
Once the ride through the chapters begins, Scott explains why keeping up with the latest trends in public relations may be the best job security you can have. In the social media age, a public relations practitioner must be able to manage the image and content of their employers in both the physical and digital worlds. In the early chapters, Scott goes through each of the major social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and LinkedIn.
Scott explains the pros and cons of each platform and how a savvy practitioner can build their audience by following a few simple steps. Most importantly, Scott explains that we should look at each social media site as a tool to use like a wrench or hammer to express ideas and build an audience. Scott warns us not to get too infatuated with the platform itself because today’s hottest social media site could be tomorrow’s MySpace.
The title of Scott’s book may be simple, but is reflective of a movement in marketing and communication that has changed all the old rules and finally let the laymen have a seat at the grown up table.
In the first chapter, Scott makes a convincing case for the need for new rules by describing his experience with looking for a car online. Scott brilliantly states that the big three automakers were addicted to the “crack cocaine of marketing”. Scott’s easy going approach makes technical subjects like target audiences, SEO, and long-tail marketing seem understandable.
The best feature of New Rules in my opinion was the way Scott layered each chapter like a cake so that everything you learn in chapter 2 builds on what you learned in chapter 1. For example, the first chapter explains the old rules of marketing and PR, the second chapter follows up with the new rules- you get the point.
Many marketing books fill the first five or so chapters with information you already know or audacious promises that you are about to change your life with the secret information revealed in the next chapter. Scott wastes no time and gets straight to the goods in New Rules. Scott’s commitment to informative simplification makes this book an easy, fun and useful read.
A highlight of the early chapters is the section on long-tail marketing. This principle teaches us that while marketers previously competed to reach customers in the center of the bell curve, now they chase the niche customers on the long tails of the market.
When Scott explains how a small online book retailer used this technique to become a juggernaut, readers are pulled in for the rest of the ride through the chapters. By the way, that little book retailer was Amazon.com!
As the reader journeys further down the rabbit hole with Scott, you learn about how to reach the consumer directly and bypass the gatekeepers. Scott breaks down blogging and podcasting, how these tools are useful and how even the most computer illiterate person can blog with the best of them- with the New Rules. Scott’s lessons and rules to the game are easy to understand and help educate those willing to learn how they can become the most valuable person in their marketing and PR departments.
Another great feature of the eBook version of New Rules is the fact that you can highlight any term and research it further. Furthermore, the end of each chapter has links that take you to extra content online. Scott even gives away a template for readers to help develop their own marketing strategy. Scott’s generosity makes this book seem even more credible and user-friendly.
As the book winds to a close, Scott covers topics like content-rich websites and how to become a global entity even if you’re a small, local business. However, the jewel of the entire book may be chapter 10 which focuses on marketing and PR in real time. The skills and insight delineated in the previous chapters culminate in this chapter. According to Scott, social media really is beneficial when you can catch a wave of searches or web traffic. If you can tie your service or product to a trending topic it can pay off large dividends.
In conclusion, Scott has written a great book that is useful to both the novice and senior-level strategist. This book is a roadmap to PR stardom for the willing and ambitious. I recommend it for all public relations practitioners “in-training” and veteran practitioners who need a little retraining on the New Rules of Marketing and PR.